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There seems to be a new ‘in vogue’ term that’s very real for small business owners or entrepreneurs. It’s known as Context Switching and while the practice has been around for years it has now come to the foreground for several reasons. So, what is Context Switching?
Due to our work life being so busy and with technology assisting us more and more we have taken on even more multiple tasks but, this is normal, Right?
These tasks have to be completed on a daily basis and as a lot of businesses are simply not in the position to employ a team of staff, these tasks are spread around to whoever is on the payroll or, if there is only you in the business, you’re it. And for the smaller businesses and entrepreneurs, Context Switching will probably affect you the most.
Small Business Owner or Entrepreneur
As the small business owner or entrepreneur, you wear a number of ‘hats’ representing the different titles of the business such as the Marketing Manager, Administration Manager, HR Manager and so on.
Also, the issue of multi-skilling is literally, real as you are now capable of completing 2 tasks at the same time.
It has been shown that the time frame spent on a single task is only a few minutes and if it’s referring to the use of digital tools it’s even less, and I can understand why.
This time frame is bound to become shorter as sometimes we now don’t even have to lift a finger to do a simple task. An example of this is: Google? Turn on some music? Or, Hey Siri (talking to your Apple Mac), find my lost I Phone.
In these scenarios, you can continue working on one task while a second task is being done! Voila!
The more tasks that can be completed when talking to a device, will lead to less time required for that set task. (It reminds me of the TV show, ‘The Jetsons’. Great cartoon! If only their creators Hanna-Barbara could see the technology now.)
The major pitfall with this type of multi-tasking is our attention span is spread rather thinly per job at hand and can lead to a lower quality of work plus it could destroy a massive amount of productive time.
Focus is 100%
So, when the focus is 100% on a single task, the productivity is 100% as well. But once other tasks are introduced not only is the attention split but the productivity is reduced.
There will always be low productivity between tasks and this is what’s known as Context Switching and amazingly the more tasks being balanced at the same time, the percentage of Context Switching per task increases and it is a massive amount! In other words, less productivity.
Handling 2 tasks at once can create a productivity loss of up to 20% according to Jory MacKay Editor of https://blog.rescuetime.com/author/jorymackay/
He also continues to say that multi-tasking 3 jobs at one time creates 40% loss due to Context Switching.
And the more tasks the less productivity there is so how many tasks do you juggle at once? If it’s 5, there is a possible 80% of productivity time lost due to Context Switching and that’s huge!
Part of the norm
In Jory’s report https://blog.rescuetime.com/author/jorymackay/, he references computer scientist and psychologist Gerald Weinberg https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0932633226/codihorr-20, apparently taking multiple tasks at the same time can negatively affect up to 80% of your daily productivity time. The question is: what to do as these days, it’s part of the norm? It’s exactly how most of us work these days.
We’re all aware that single tasking can reduce the stress as we can mentally and physically feel the difference therefore it creates opportunities to increase productivity. So, what can be done to reduce the percentage of Context Switching?
The obvious would be to employ staff but for the majority of small businesses and entrepreneurs that just isn’t feasible. If only it was that easy.
An simple way would be to divide the business tasks into two groups with primary tasks that are immediately directed to the business, your niche. For example: A business that sells wine and the niche related task of wine tasting. 😊
And secondary tasks such as purchasing office consumables would be an example for the business above. It’s not connected to the success of the business or niche but is necessary to keep the business running so consumables need to be ordered by someone.
Another primary task as an example of the above business of Wine Sales would be traveling to vineyards and a secondary task is researching travel options such as flights, accommodation, car hire etc.
When researching value for money and reputable operators in the travel industry and then checking for suitable times and locations, this secondary task can easily take up 25% of the working day! Plus, the task of typing up a basic itinerary would then need to be done so the time factor could be up to a further 10% of the working day.
All of this time taken and it does not make any money toward the business!
High end of the scale
Being a secondary task, the context switching percentage rate would have to be at the high end of the scale as researching travel does not form part of the business niche. Plus, these secondary tasks are usually done after hours to minimize the wasted business time factor.
Why not offload this secondary task and outsource the travel research and have the itinerary customized for you?
Done for you
The key information such as the travel details as well as your personal preferences (likes and dislikes) and all the tedious research is done for you.
Donna from Don Jon Journeys (www.donjonjourneys.com) has over a decade of travel Industry experience.
Positives for outsourcing
The positives for outsourcing your travel organising to a professional business such as Don Jon Journeys are numerous.
- One less task to attend to
- More time to focus on your business and niche
- Probability of 3 x your investment
- Look and feel your best and be switched on for that important meeting.
- A reduction in the percentage of Context Switching.
- No more burning the midnight oil.
- Be home to say good night to the kids
- Have dinner out with the partner
- Mid-week socializing with friends or sports
Does your business or association offer retreats or get involved in retreats? This area is a bsolute nightmare witht he tedious to-ing and fro-ing of emails for clarifications! Don Jon Journeys (www.donjonjourneys.com) can assist with these as well as these businesses are usually in a different time zone so can add to your frustration as well.
Having this outsourced can be such a life saver because each Retreat offer is laid out completely different so comparing takes so long. Plus, with different inclusions and different currencies the time required to do this becomes overwhelming.
30% of a working day
By the time all the back and forwards (allowing for the different timezones) then formatting the information in a spreadsheet so it’s easily comparable, at least 30% of a working day has been consumed.
And that’s just for 1 retreat. The task is a then ‘rinse and repeat’ for at least 2 more retreats to make a proper comparison to know it there’s value for money.
You don’t have to be a business person to take advantage of Don Jon Journeys either. If you’re someone who is only interested in leisure travel and is tired of researching the internet and tired of being scammed or ripped off by scrupulous operators or just dreads the research part, Don Jon Journeys can help you as well.
Don’t’ sweat the small stuff
So don’t sweat the small stuff! Instead of constantly stressing about doing non-niche or secondary tasks such as your travel or retreat research or just a holiday please contact me for a FREE 1 on 1 strategy call.
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